We all want to feel safe.
We all want to ensure that we are protected as we move around the island and stay in our homes. We want to protect those who come to our shores especially as a tourism destination which prides itself on being a relatively low crime destination, so we have to make sure that we are doing what we can to keep this plus for this island, intact.
As this country moves from its COVID-19 lockdown, we are doing so cautiously. The opening of the island to passenger flights is part of this process which will bring its own series of challenges to be handled. Flights travelling from COVID-19 hotspots will have to be monitored, as this country has successfully handled the spread of the pandemic and limited cases to below 100, and at the time of this editorial, only one active case was in isolation.
Barbados has done well. Measures outlined controlled the reality of community spread from impacting the island, which is testimony to the plans which were put in place and adherence of citizens and visitors to what they were asked to do. We are not at the stage of a vaccine yet, so we still have to be careful.
That still can be undone if our crime and violence situation is not kept in check. We are not talking about petty crime, but the increase in gun related crimes and violent acts being performed at a seemingly rapid rate.
During the lockdown, these acts were greatly reduced, but as the country reopens, acts of violence are starting to rise and we as a country need to have a plan to tackle this occurrence, which can threaten to undermine the growth and development that we have worked so hard to achieve.
What is behind this behaviour? What is driving the move by some to resort to violence against others? Only recently, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) has had a series of successful arrests and process of bringing people to Court to face charges. This is a cause for cautious optimism, which will point to an impressive tool of the State to show that they are tough on criminal activity and a move towards a disincentive to those who would wish to flout the laws of the country.
We recently had shootings, stabbings, and a host of capital offences which are a cause for concern. We all know that the criminal act is the end stage of disturbing behaviour, but it seems as though a level of retaliation is a part of the ongoing criminal activity.
Barbadians need to feel safe. To achieve the successful reopening of the country, Barbadians need to feel confident that they can move around the island. As curfew restrictions lift, people need to move around the island to work especially which creates opportunity for the criminal elements on the island.
So we have to continue to use all of our powers and resources to tackle crime. This includes a process through which our security forces are able to communicate effectively with various groups and encourage dialogue as an option to violence. We have to work on engaging with various communities which have earned unfortunate reputations to aid in the fight against crime.
It is not fashionable to protect those who engage in criminal acts. We need to support pushing this message into these groups and this among other strategies should aid in protecting this country from being overrun by criminal elements.